(CNN) — It seemed like a deal too good to be true. A new house — and potentially a whole new life — for sale in sunkissed rural Italy for the princely sum of just one euro, or little over a dollar.
Over the past year or so, numerous small towns from Sicily in the south to the northern Alps have been offering such bargains in the hope of attracting new residents to revitalize dying communities.
The deals have made headlines on CNN and beyond, captivating millions of people hooked on the romantic notion of abandoning the metropolitan rat race for a simpler life.
Many of the towns were inundated with inquiries. Phones rang off the hook. Websites creaked under the strain.But did anyone actually buy? And when they did, what happened next? Did they become ensnared in Italy’s notoriously byzantine bureaucracy?